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Gracie Abrams on Her Laid-Back Personal Style

Gracie Abrams on Her Laid-Back Personal Style Image
  • Posted on 27th Jul, 2022 14:47 PM

The singer-songwriter talks Chanel, tube tops, and what she learned from touring with Phoebe Bridgers.

Bedroom pop singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams is seriously on the rise. The California-born 22-year-old is the daughter of director and composer J.J. Abrams (you may have heard of his work) and Katie McGrath, a film and television producer. She started writing music when she was young—think elementary school young—and she's recently been on tour with Olivia Rodrigo and Phoebe Bridgers.

But when we hopped on Zoom yesterday, the topic du jour wasn't music so much as personal style. Fresh off a performance at Chanel's special cocktail and dinner party to celebrate its new ephemeral boutique in East Hampton, New York, the star was eager to share her thoughts on Y2K style, the one celebrity whose closet she'd love to raid, and how her mom is her ultimate style influence.

Hi, Gracie! Let's get into it. What are some of your first memories of Chanel?

Growing up, I had very little involvement in the fashion world. I played rowdy sports and I only have brothers, but my mom had two lipsticks and they were both Chanel. One of them was a dark red, and the other one was a nude shade. I wear Boy now every day—that's the shade that I carry with me everywhere. It feels like a happy medium between the two [my mom wore].

I just remember feeling like Chanel was classic glamour and timeless beauty, and growing up, that was only reaffirmed in everything that I learned about them. To be in close proximity to the brand is such an honor, and to sing for a night for the brand is a real dream come true.

How would you describe your personal style?

Kind of boyish. I really love being comfortable. I was shocked that I felt so myself in the clothes I wore the other night, because Chanel feels so untouchable, but they know people so well that it really became very human and I felt so myself. Less is more for me.

What are some of your style influences?

I just love menswear so much. It's so sexy, and I feel confident in boxy pieces sometimes. I love the contrast between the outfit I wore to perform: a small top with a baggy pant. That's my favorite thing in the world.

Matthew Kristall

Whose personal style do you love?

It feels like a trendy answer, but I love Bella Hadid's street style, because the pieces are always surprising to me. If I could raid anyone's closet, it would probably be hers. Also my mom's style. She just wears turtlenecks and jeans, but that's my dream for the rest of my life. She's from Maine and did not grow up in a city where fashion is, so big, chunky sweaters and jeans were what made sense. It feels really timeless, and I'm a fan. I steal as much as I can.

You mentioned Bella Hadid, who's doing lots of Y2K style right now. What are your thoughts on bringing back the trend? Yay or nay?

I think it's whatever people feel good in, honestly. I recently was brain-dump journaling about where I'm at in general right now, and being 22, all I want to do is wear clothes that make me feel in my body and myself. I think if Y2K is what makes you happy, then hell yeah. But I don't necessarily know how to tap into trends in the way as well as I think some of my peers do.

I love really simple, classic basics. I fall more in the line of blue jeans, white tees, and that's it. I love jumpsuits. I have this one super-boxy Rachel Comey one that I love so much. You could probably fit three of me in it, but I wear it proudly all the time.

If you have five minutes to get dressed, what's your go-to outfit?

Oh, damn. Okay. I have this dark-wash pair of jeans I love. I normally do either a sneaker or a combat boot, because I feel like I stand stronger when I wear those. If it's hot, I've been into tube tops lately—I like feeling not remotely restricted. Jewelry-wise, I just have gold huggies all the time and these two rings. That's it. Very simple.

Matthew Kristall

I think it's so cool that you've been able to open for women like Olivia Rodrigo and Phoebe Bridgers. What have they taught you about style?

Olivia completely embodies her music in what she's wearing. I loved watching the outfits as much as I loved watching the performance; they really went hand in hand so perfectly. She's referencing her influences in her style in the same way that she has in some of the punk pop, the genre that she's falls into—not that she falls into any one genre at all.

As for Phoebe, I've been obsessed with Phoebe since I was 11 years old. I found her on SoundCloud over a decade ago. She was one of my first style influences. She was wearing suits a long time ago, and I loved that immediately. I loved that she wore a shit ton of black, because that felt really appropriate for her music. Everything feels like it's tailored perfectly and really clean, but she makes it fun when she wants to. She's just the coolest.

What have they taught you about the music business?

I look at Phoebe as one of the artists that seems like she's doing herself all the time, and it works. It's really inspiring, because as young women in any industry, there are expectations or standards for success or certain ways to get people's attention. And she was just like, "Fuck that," and it really worked. Plus, it means she attracts people who also feel that way. I think her fan base feels so connected to her, because they're all a bit like that too. I just really admire it.

Matthew Kristall

What are some of your pre-performance rituals?

Oh, man. I'm lucky to be best friends with everyone that I tour with and work with—from the band to the crew. It's like a family. We sit around and eat shit and talk shit and hug each other. I wish that there was something that was more, like, standout fascinating. We always huddle before every show. We do words of affirmation, and everyone has their headphones and our front-of-house engineer, Dom, who's like my brother, always find something ridiculous to say. We're typically laughing as we go on, which is a nice feeling, especially for an anxious girl to have some comedic relief.

I read an interview in Variety where you said that your parents are the opposite of stage parents, which I think is extremely commendable. But your dad is a composer and he has all of these amazing, epic soundtracks. Did that influence your approach to songwriting and song making?

I think my dad's influence on me as a writer, or just a creative thinker, is, more than anything, that I grew up with an adult in my life who was obsessed with storytelling. I don't think my songwriting process has been influenced directly by either of my parents, because that is definitely something that you have to figure it out for yourself. But I was influenced by the knowledge that you can be a grown-up and love to tell stories, and that is, like, all I do, all day long, in my head. It was a real blessing growing up and knowing that that's allowed.

Writing is the love of my life, so I'm grateful that I had an example of someone who also loves it entirely in really close proximity to me.

My last question for you: You tweeted that you love snacks, which I thought was so funny. Do you remember tweeting this?

Yes [laughs].

Do you want to share your favorite snacks with me?

Yes. Okay. Well, growing up, my favorite ever was apple slices with peanut butter and cinnamon. That's one of my favorite snacks. I love cereal, but it reminds me now so much of quarantine, because every night for dinner for six months, I would have a bowl of cereal in bed as my dinner.

What kind of cereal?

Purely Elizabeth Blueberry Granola. It's a real specific one, but it is so unreal. It is so good. I put everyone onto it, and I regret telling people because sometimes it's sold out places and I feel like I need to gate-keep, but it really is so good. Snacks, I'll eat anything. It's a problem. Heirloom tomatoes recently. Big fan.

Matthew Kristall

Now for my actual last question. What else do you have coming up? What's on the horizon for you?

I'm currently finishing my album, which is really exciting, because it's my first one and I'm making it with one of my best friends. And I have Lollapalooza this weekend, which should be a great time. Hopefully, it's not actually burning hot, but we'll see. Otherwise, just writing constantly and trying new things all the time.

Do you have a writing ritual?

Journaling on top of the songwriting aspect is a must. I can't imagine songwriting without my journal. I have it on me all the time. But no real ritual. When I went to college, my songwriting routine changed, because I was around someone in my personal space all the time, and then being on tour around 10 people constantly. So it's just a lot more writing without music recently, and then transferring it over when I can. But, no, I just scribble things down all the time. My notes app is a scary place to be.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

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